'More High 'C's than Sleaze but just enough Tease to Please'
In 1999, while performing at Wilton's Music Hall in the East End of London Ali McGregor was
told an intriguing story of 19th Century chorus girls from the Royal Opera House in Covent
Garden. They would finish their opera, take off their outer clothes and in their corsets and
drawers travel by carriage to Wilton's to sing their arias to the vaudeville loving public. She
was so captivated by this tale that in 2005, while singing in Opera Australia's production of
Manon in theVictorian Arts Centre, she would sit in the Spiegeltent and wonder if the same
subterfuge could occur between theexclusive Opera Theatre and this beatiful tent of
decadence and mayhem. After a chance meeting with the owner of the Spiegeltent David
Bates, she suggested doing a little turn after one of the performances of Manon.
The Opera Burlesque was born.
She went on to create a full hour show with other Opera Australia colleagues Dimity Shepherd & Antoinette Halloran and had sell-out seasons in The Famous Spiegeltent in Melbourne '05 & 2006, The Theatre Bosco theatre at Adelaide Fringe 2006 and The Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2007.
In 2006 The Opera Burlesque went to Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Ali was joined by British opera singers Catherine Friel and Jacqueline Tate. They sold out their season in The Spiegeltent and returned in 2007 to perform in the Debating Hall of The Gilded Balloon.
'...Crossing neatly between (the) old and new school is the Opera Burlesque - a trio of classically trained singers with serious reputations, who like to do an odd runner from traditional fare and delve into the subterranean world of cabaret, vaudeville and heavy metal...'